The New York Daily News invited readers to create their own version of Air Force One’s ill-advised flyover of Manhattan in April.
Cloud computing provides more than just convenient storage. When artists allow people to use and modify their work through other media-sharing websites, the result can be a free-for-all. But Aviary tracks changes in images, so there is a record of how the work has been used. Artists can even levy royalties, which Aviary’s software enforces automatically. If a person creates an image and assigns it a royalty of 50 cents, and another artist incorporates it into a composite work and wants to sell it, the second artist would have to sell the composite image for at least 50 cents, with that money going back to the original creator. This easy royalty-sharing scheme creates a business model for artists that would have been impossible without cloud computing.
Aviary’s software offers fewer features than Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, the gold standard among graphic designers and artists. But converts like Shawn Rider, manager of technology solutions at PBS, say they like it because they can access files from any Internet-connected computer and collaborate easily with other users, all for a very low price. Aviary offers access to a free version of its software with basic design tools. For $9.99 a month, users get more features as well as access to the royalty-sharing system.
Aviary also provides an application programming interface (API), which allows other businesses to integrate its image-editing tools into their websites. The New Yorker has used the tools for a cartoon contest, and the New York Daily News recently held a photo-editing contest to alter the image of Air Force One’s embarrassing flyover of New York City in April.
As for the future, Aviary is looking beyond image editing. In March, the startup acquired Digimix, a small company that makes Web software for audio editing; it may also start developing software for inexpensive online video editing, which should have a ready market among the hordes of YouTube contributors